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Synology CS-406: Speedy, Flexible RAID5 NAS

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September 16, 2006 12:03:41 PM

Bill Meade liked Synology's Cube Station so much that he just might swear off building his own RAID NASes.
September 16, 2006 10:05:54 PM

I'm not giving mine up my DIY NAS boxes quite yet. :p 

I do think that people aught to know that even though a DIY box could have a "big" power suppply, the PSU will only draw what it needs. If you sit there and that about it if you had an 800 watt PSU it won't draw 800 watts just on it's own. PSUs are measured in either peak or constant wattage that they can supply. It's called a supply for reasons otherwise it would be called a space heater. :wink:

I'll point out that if you want low power draw then get a low power CPU and motherboard.
September 18, 2006 8:18:55 AM

Bill, thanks for another great review - this looks like the 1st small and simple NAS box I've seen that really meets the mark.

I was comparing this to an Infrant ReadyNAS NV which seems to be the only other product around that delivers similar performance.

I noted that some of the CS-406's perfromance was lower than the ReadyNAS on RAID 5, while the price is very similar. On the other hand this is much smaller and has a much better WAF.

Also it appears that the Infrant NAS boxes are fairly complex and present some people with problems (many are happy but some are quite unhappy). I wonder if this device's simplicity can get around some of those and provide a lower risk purchase.

It would be interesting to see experiences from people who own one of these and have used it for a while.
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September 18, 2006 10:24:47 AM

I always find it a pity that none of these NAS boxes supports iSCSI yet.

Filip
September 18, 2006 1:06:31 PM

Most of the sub $1000 NAS boxes seldom have SCSI let alone iSCSI. :p 

Inclusion of eSATA would be a nice addition to all the boxes using SATA.

It also would great if they all had a USB host that would let you hot swap any USB storage device. :wink:
September 18, 2006 3:08:56 PM

Why are these RAID 5 NAS solutions so slow? I mean 9MB/s during read, I have SD Cards faster than that. Even when considering the 1Gb bandwith of the LAN, speeds of 80-100MB/s should be possible?!?
September 18, 2006 3:25:58 PM

I liked the review and wanted to pick one of these up,
but my problem is noone, I mean noone that
had the thing listed had this in stock. Is this NAS
soo new that noone has it, or is there some trick to it.
September 18, 2006 3:54:07 PM

There of lots of things to consider:

1) CPU and RAM, the more the better your performance. Most "off the shelf" NAS boxes have slower CPU's and much smaller RAM footprints than expensive "off the shelf" and DIY NAS boxes.

2) Raid 5 has a lot of processing overhead. Most "off the shelf" NAS boxes use software RAID solutions and don't have a processor dedicated to RAID calculations as with "good" RAID controllers seen in quality servers or workstations.

3) Software and unnecessary services that most people won’t likely be using, these all drag done the system using up precious CPU cycles and RAM. Wouldn’t it be nice to disable all that other stuff if you’re not using them?
September 18, 2006 6:01:23 PM

I was going to go with either DIY or the ReadyNAS. This is certainly a consideration, but the pricing isn't any different from the ReadyNAS. I am also going to go with WD5000YS drives. Having a DIY solution allows me to serve up an iTunes shared folder, if not an iPhoto folder.

I think the comment that "why didn't they integrate with iPhoto and iTunes" totally forgets about how NIH Apple is. Clearly they want people buying iTV or whatever.

The nightmare scenario for Joe-Sixpack getting to be root is pretty simple. 10% of the time Joe sends email to his work or buddies, the mail either doesn't get there, or there's an attachemnt on there he didn't attach himself. It says it's a screensaver but it's a virus. When he disconnects his Synology CS-406 this problem disapears. But he's getting 50 spam messages a day now, and so are his friends. He's pissed and eventually there's a joe-class-action lawsuit for Synology. How could they make a home device that was so easily rooted? Some .RU hacker teamed up with a .CN wiz and put an packet sniffer on all the boxes they could find, via a "fan-site" of CS-406. The sniffer watched all email, reaped the addresses, and occasionally mangled them and resent them with rootkits attached.

Joe's wondering why they didn't up the security so that wouldn't happen.

As for other people's comments:
An 800 watt PSU is more efficient at full load than at half or (in this case) 100th load. For this is probably going to draw 120W when infact only 10W are needed. While if you used a 250W PSU, you'd probably draw 50W for 10W; but if all the disks spin at once in your DIY box, and all the fans come on and the CPU, then 250 may not cut it at peak.

SMB or CIFS over IP is slower than you imagine, if you imagine that you should be getting 100mb/s on gbit ethernet.

iSCSI would be overdoing it; better stick to DIY or costly sollutions there.

eSATA would be really really nice though.

So would seeing the box sport a dedicated Intel or something parity processor.
September 19, 2006 2:17:51 PM

This is information from Synology describing the differences between the CS-406 and CD-406e:
Quote:
Function wise, both CS-406 and CS-406e are the same. The main difference is performance. CS-406 has faster CPU (Freescale 8245 400MHz vs Freescale 8241 266MHz) and bigger memory (128M vs 64M). For sigle user or small office environment, the performance difference of regular usage is reasonably close (see the samba performance of "samba and FTP comparison" in http://www.synology.com/enu/products/CS406series/perf.p... ). Both have the same major bottleneck - memory speed (unfortunately their memory speed is the same due to Freescale's design). For a multi-user environment such as heavy SOHO usage or SMB/SME office, the performance difference become obvious ( see "netbench comparison" in the same link ).

According to the performance characters, we classify CS-406e for power users and small SOHO, while CS-406 is more for heavier business use.

BTW, many other NAS products are tuned for single user environment by turning off "op-lock" function in Samba. Those NAS typically have very poor netbench performance. We have tuned our products for both environments.
September 19, 2006 4:52:01 PM

One thing that Bill Meade mentions in this article is the difficulty of repairing NAS appliances if anything other than the disk fails. Given this, it would be useful to describe the procedure for recovering from a frame failure by moving the intact disks to another empty frame. Can this be done in a way that preserves the data?
September 19, 2006 8:44:41 PM

Depends on the file system type, if you move a single drive that was in JBOD it's really simple in most cases. I've moved JBOD and RAID arrays in ext2, ext3, NTFS, and DFS file systems from one NAS to another without much fuss. In linux you only need mount the drive. I always find easier on a DIY or NAS boxes with removable components the easiest to work with; hardware raid cards being a significant benefit.

My rambling aside, to put it simply it really depends on the type of array, file system and the boxes your moving to and from.

p.s. Sometimes I sound like a blithering idiot. I hope this all made since.
October 23, 2006 5:58:42 AM

What is the CPU and Memory in CS-406?
Are they using Freescale as the DS-106?
Is the memory upgradeable like Infrant ReadyNAS?
June 12, 2013 6:45:31 PM

Hello. I bought this server from second hand.. I everyhhing configure sucessfully but speed to NAS and back is very slowly. Maximal 20kB/s ! Please advice me. Thanks Pavel Slovak Košice
!